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Barnes & Noble E-Reader Already Sold Out

November 21, 2009

Analysts are saying that Amazon’s Kindle may get a leg up on competition with Barnes & Noble Inc.’s announcement on Friday that it had sold out of its newly debuted Nook electronic reader because of an unexpectedly high demand.

Barnes & Noble shares had not changed much, while Amazon had increased by half of one percent, reported Reuters.

“Amazon can reap the benefit of Sony and Barnes & Noble’s failures here,” said Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps.

He also noted that consumers wanting to buy a wireless e-reader before the holidays are now left with the Kindle as their only option.

According to industry experts, electronic readers by Amazon, Sony, Barnes & Noble and others will be the hot selling electronic gadgets of the holidays. But without manufacturers releasing the results of sales targets, it is difficult to determine demand.

Barnes & Noble said that all Nooks ordered from Friday will start being shipped the week of January 4, and those purchasing them as gifts will receive a holiday certificate that gives a January shipping date.

“While we increased production based on the high consumer interest, we’ve sold out of our initial Nook allotment available for delivery before the holidays,” the book retailer giant said in a statement.

Company spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating said that e-readers sold in Barnes & Noble stores are also in limited supply.

“We do anticipate having limited stock available in our highest-volume stores over the holidays,” Keating said, adding the demand had “exceeded our expectations.”

On Thursday, Sony Corp. gave a similar announcement about the high demand of its latest e-reader, the Daily Edition, which means that customers would be getting the device on a “first come, first serve” basis without a guarantee that it will make it in time for the holidays.

Some analysts believe that both Barnes & Noble and Sony may have been too hasty in their attempt to challenge Amazon’s dominance in the e-reader market, since the Kindle holds the title as the best-selling product from America’s largest online retailer.

“These two companies wanted to show the market that they would be competition to Amazon for the 2009 holiday season and now they have to face the consequences of that strategy and apologize to consumers for empty boxes under the tree,” said Forrester’s Rotman Epps.

The overwhelming consumer demand for the e-reader gadgets is undeniably a “positive sign” for the industry, said Gartner Vice President Allen Weiner.

But he also added, “There may be a lot of e-reader frustration, it may be the Cabbage Patch doll of the year or the Tickle Me Elmo,” which were two popular toys that sold out quickly in the past.

The devices may range in price from about $199 to over $400, but they all allow consumers to read a variety of books, newspapers and magazines on a light and easy to carry handheld device.

Though Amazon was also been beset with similar issues last holiday season, they said on the website that its regular Kindle along with its larger, more expensive version, are fully stocked and ready to be shipped in time for the holiday.

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